About 2 months ago, I celebrated my birthday. Weird around birthdays. Don’t want the attention and then I get confused why no one does anything. I’m approaching what I’ll call the half-way-point birthday so decided to do a little assessment of where I’ve been and where I’m going.
Perhaps it was that weird birthday vibe, but my assessment came out in the form of a “sick of” list. You’ve heard of a gratitude journal? I flipped that concept on its head and decided to take a rapid-fire assessment of all of the thoughts, behaviors, habits, people–everything that I was “sick of.”
Not only was it strangely cathartic, but it was also quite informative.
I said, “OK Erin, if you’re sick of these things, what are you going to do about it? What are you going to take responsibility for?”
I’ll spare you the extensive list. An interesting byproduct of that spur-of-the-moment-sick-of-list has been a heightened awareness of when I’m feeling the “sick of” creep. Not resistance, not the challenge of starting something new, the procrastination of doing the mundane. This feeling comes from being aware that I am going through the motions on something, I don’t like how it feels, I can question why I’m doing it that way, and then decide if there’s something I can do differently.
The creep occurred every day around 5 or 5:30 as I finished my workday. I’d get up from my home office, I’d go talk to Mike and Steve, I’d start prepping dinner, I’d pick up the house…I’d jump into the next activity.
I found I was short with Mike, not ready to hear about his day. I was cutting vegetables with more vigor than necessary because I felt that one activity was bleeding into the next and my brain was still processing work thoughts or all of the other things I needed to do. I felt overwhelmed. Frustrated. Agitated.
Then I told myself to do something about it. I had control over this situation.
For the past week, I’ve implemented downtime when I finish my work day. Or as I’m now calling it, my commute.
It’s been oppressively hot here so my commute is to the back porch where I lay in the hammock for 15-30 minutes. No dog. No husband. No book. No device. No music. No nothing. Me, the mosquitos, the crickets, and the trees. Time to process my day. Time to close out some thoughts. Time to celebrate my wins. Time to breathe.
The difference is incredible. I come in feeling refreshed. I’m ready to hear Mike. I’m prepared to pet Steve. I can be present in chopping vegetables because the thoughts have been processed.
I’m a big believer in gratitude, don’t get me wrong. I’m also a big believer in being honest with ourselves because that honesty brings awareness. The awareness I had around feeling sick of a lot of things in my life galvanized me into taking different actions. The two, gratitude and sick-of, are not mutually exclusive. The sick-of list started as a few pages (😳) in my journal and transformed into a flashing neon sign saying, “Change me! Pay attention! Take ownership! Take responsibility!”
That birthday morning I had a choice. I could wallow in my annoyance or take actions to lead to satisfaction. The years have taught me a lot, and taking action fueled by ownership is always a choice to rely on.
Where can you check in and do a little sick-of check? Is there something you’re doing because that’s how you’ve always done it that could use a little change up to bring around a new outcome? Is there a small shift you can make that will have an unexpected outcome? Can you implement your version of a commute and see how different you, and those around you, feel?
Sick-of-it lead to commute time which takes the form of hammock time where I look up at the palm trees and sway back in forth in the swamp that is Florida and find myself having lots of gratitude for a whole lot of things. With one choice and one action, our perspective can shift.